, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 544–553 | Cite as

Effectiveness of a School-Based Yoga Program on Adolescent Mental Health and School Performance: Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Jennifer L. FrankEmail author
  • Kimberly Kohler
  • Adam Peal
  • Bidyut Bose


The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a yoga-based social-emotional wellness promotion program, Transformative Life Skills (TLS), on indicators of adolescent emotional distress, prosocial behavior, and school functioning. Participants included 159 students attending an inner-city school district who were randomly assigned to treatment or business-as-usual comparison conditions. Results suggested that students who participated in the TLS program demonstrated significant reductions on unexcused absences, detentions, and increases in school engagement. Significant concurrent improvements in primary engagement stress-coping strategies and secondary engagement stress-coping strategies were noted as well. Specifically, significant increases in student emotion regulation, positive thinking, and cognitive restructuring in response to stress were found. No effects were found for measures of somatization, suspensions, academic grades, or general affect. Student report of treatment acceptability indicated that the intervention was generally well-received and strategies were perceived as socially valid by most participants. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.


Mindfulness Yoga Randomized controlled trial RCT Engagement Coping Stress Student Emotion regulation Positive thinking Somatization Suspensions Academic Grades Affect Asanas Breathing Pranayama Schools Education Stress Adolescent 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of Interest

Kimberly Kohler and Adam Peal declare that they have no conflict of interest. Jennifer L. Frank is a co-author of the TLS curriculum but does not receive royalty payments or in-kind benefits related to the sale of the TLS curriculum. Bidyut Bose is a co-author of the TLS curriculum and founder and director of the Niroga Institute which benefits financially from sales of the TLS curriculum.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer L. Frank
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kimberly Kohler
    • 1
  • Adam Peal
    • 1
  • Bidyut Bose
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special EducationPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Niroga InstituteOaklandUSA

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